HMS Sirius (82)
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Sirius leaving Portsmouth, 17 June 1942
|Builder:||Portsmouth Dockyard (Portsmouth, UK): Scotts Shipbuilding and Engineering Company (Greenock, Scotland)|
|Laid down:||6 April 1938|
|Launched:||18 September 1940|
|Commissioned:||6 May 1942|
|Out of service:||14 March 1951|
|Fate:||Scrapped, Arrived at Blyth yard of Hughes Bolkow, (Northumberland, UK) on 15 October 1956.|
|Notes:||Pennant number 82|
|Class and type:||Dido-class light cruiser|
|Beam:||50.5 ft (15.4 m)|
|Draught:||14 ft (4.3 m)|
|Speed:||32.25 knots (60 km/h)|
HMS Sirius was a Dido-class light cruiser of the Royal Navy. She was built by Portsmouth Dockyard (Portsmouth, United Kingdom) , with the keel being laid down on 6 April 1938. She was launched on 18 September 1940, and commissioned 6 May 1942.
Sirius's completion was delayed due to German bombing at Portsmouth Dockyard. She was completed at Scotts Shipbuilding and Engineering Company (Greenock, Scotland). On completion she initially joined the Home Fleet, and was then assigned to operate in the Mediterranean in August for Operation Pedestal. She was then ordered to the South Atlantic to patrol against Axis blockade runners on the Far East route, returning to Gibraltar in November for Operation Torch, the North African landings. As part of Force Q at Bone in December she harried Axis convoys to and from Tunisia until the Axis surrender in North Africa.
The last naval battle held in Mediterranean Sea during 1942, saw Sirius as protagonist. The Q Force (Sirius, Aurora, Argonaut, destroyers Quentin and Quiberon) intercepted a small convoy in the Sicilian Channel, starting the Battle of Skerki Bank. In the night of 2 December, a troop convoy was heading for Tunisia: German KT-1 850 GRT, Aventino 3,794 GRT, Puccini 2,422 GRT, Aspromonte (a militarized ferry-boat, 976 GRT). The Q Force intercepted the convoy in the night between 1 and 2 December. The British ships hit very hard and destroyed, one after the other, all the cargoes and troop ships. The escort ships were hit as well, with Folgore fatally damaged (9 133 mm (5 in) direct hits) by cruisers, and later sunk with 120 dead (among them, Commander Ener Bettica), Da Recco badly damaged (explosion of the forward 120 mm (5 in) ready ammunition depots) with 113 dead. Camicia Nera launched all of her six torpedoes, but missing the targets (mainly Sirius). At dawn, the savage short-range engagement saw a clear British victory, while the Axis lost 2,033 lives and five ships. This battle was almost forgotten (at least in Italy), but it was a big battle nevertheless, in which Sirius escaped with no hit aboard despite Camicia Nera, which fired on her from only 2 kilometres (1.2 mi), dodging several torpedoes and cooperating in the sinking of many Axis ships. During the return path Quentin was sunk by 500 kg (1,100 lb) bombs released from Junkers 88s.
Sirius then formed part of the 12th Cruiser Squadron, was at the Allied invasion of Sicily, (Operation Husky), in July. For the next few months she supported the army ashore, and in September took part in the occupation of Taranto before transferring to the Adriatic, where, on 7 October 1943 Sirius, Penelope and the destroyers Faulknor and Fury, north of Astipalea (Stampalia) in the Dodecanese, attacked a German convoy consisting of the auxiliary submarine chaser Uj 2111 (former Italian Tramaglio), the cargo ship Olympus and seven MFPs, sinking all but one MFP.
On 17 October, Sirius was badly damaged by bombs off Scarpunto, and sailed to Massawa for repairs. These were carried out between November 1943 and February 1944, before the ship returned to Britain for Operation Overlord, the Normandy landings, where she was part of the reserve of the Eastern Task Force. In August she returned to Mediterranean waters for the landings in the south of France, Operation Dragoon. She then served again in the Aegean, where, in October 1944, she was present during the reoccupation of Athens. Sirius remained with the Mediterranean Fleet, 15th Cruiser Squadron, postwar until 1946. After a refit at Portsmouth in 1946, Sirius joined the 2nd Cruiser Squadron with the Home Fleet in March 1947. She was paid off in 1949 and was put up for disposal in 1956. On 15 October 1956 Sirius arrived at the Blyth yard of Hughes Bolkow for breaking up.
- Sgarlato, Nico: Lo scontro del banco di Skerki, Eserciti nella Storia magazine, Delta editions, Parma, gen-feb-2012, p.23-25
- Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) . Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8. OCLC 67375475.
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